What is our primary use case?
I run a small company as well as my own personal website. I am using their cloud servers for managing websites and the web applications that I develop applications. So, I use Linode both for development and hosting public applications on my website. I also use their object storage to store things, like backups and files, which I want to keep for safekeeping, but not on my personal laptops.
How has it helped my organization?
I have benefited from their flexibility, the object storage particularly. I know that I have almost unlimited capacity there. I don't have to provision loads of storage, keep buying loads of hard drives, etc. It is just there and usable.
What is most valuable?
The fact that you can do any Linux distribution is great. You can try out any Linux distribution, even some of the more obscure ones, and they are always keeping them up-to-date. As soon as a new distribution comes out, it is on the platform pretty much the same day, which I find really helpful.
What needs improvement?
The biggest room for improvement would be the object storage, bringing that to more data centres. At the moment, it's only in three of their many data centres.
They are already working on the firewalls and VLANs, which need improvement, and are now in beta. I am on the beta program for the firewalls, but I can't use it yet because they are only in Mumbai and Australia, and I am not in those data centres. This is the one thing that I have been waiting for almost since the day that I joined them, so it is nice that they are doing that. The VLANs will be an improvement as well, and I am keen and waiting for that.
Another improvement would be on the server side, e.g., if they could support non-Linux OSs, like FreeBSD or even Windows. I heard a rumor that they might be looking at doing this. I understand that they have been focused on Linux their entire lifetime, so this would be a big change for them.
For how long have I used the solution?
I found out about Linode in 2015. I used them for a couple of years, then I moved to another provider back in the UK. I came back to Linode in April 2019. So, I have been back with them for a couple of years, but I have always kept up with them within that time, helping out on the community and things like that.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It is very stable. I have never had a problem with the system because they are in different data centres, which makes it a bit more stable. For example, if there is a problem in Atlanta, that is not going to affect me in the UK. In terms of their global network, I have never had a problem. So, I find them really stable and reliable.
It has server maintenance. They give you the virtual server and manage the hardware in the machines for you, but it is up to the customers to manage the patches, the operating system, and install the applications. This is no real maintenance needed other than managing the service yourself. Obviously, they manage the object storage, make sure there is always enough space, and that the network is performing well.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
I don't see scalability being an issue. I don't use the full scalability yet, but I know that there is room to grow. The Linode plans that they have allow you to go up to really high amounts of RAM and CPU, so they must have a lot of capacity. On the object storage side, there is virtually unlimited capacity to use from our perspective. So, they are really scalable. They have built a good platform to take them forward. They do focus on a small, few features within the platform, giving them that advantage over other competitors, like AWS, who has just a massive sprawling infrastructure. Instead, Linode focuses on building their platform out to make it great.
I am using a dedicated CPU node for my production environment, website, and some other applications. Then, I have another smaller instance for development. I also have object storage and quite a bit of data. I have about 20 gigs worth of data on domains that I am using as well, so pretty much all my domains are on it in terms of DNS management. Therefore, the only thing that I am not using is Kubernetes, and I am just not at that stage yet where I need it. However, as far as the servers are concerned, I will be using those when the firewalls come in. When the VLANs come in, I will be using that as well. I would like to think that I am using quite a bit of their platform.
How are customer service and technical support?
Their support team is just fantastic and phenomenal. They are always helpful and always there. They are one of the only cloud providers who give phone support, and even outside of the US. I know if I have got a problem that I can just pick the phone up and call them. The support team is probably the number one selling point for me.
- I had a ticket the other day where they responded within about 20 minutes.
- I have had them respond when it has been the middle of the night in the UK. So, they are very responsive and friendly. They know what they are talking about.
- I have had cases where I have had tickets that have been resolved within the first update from the support team.
They are brilliant compared to other providers.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I was with DigitalOcean a few years ago, and I just didn't find their support team very helpful. I got the impression they were reading from a script. Whereas, the Linode support team understands, cares, and wants to help you get to a solution.
There is a company called Memset in the UK, who is now a part of the iomart Group, and I used them for a few years. I have used Azure and AWS as well.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was very straightforward. It is just setting the server up, then you will have your server within a few minutes. They give you the IP address and all the network information. I don't think it could be any simpler. Even in terms of creating a new block volume for servers, it gives you all the config instructions on how to add them and use them. I don't think there is any room for improvement there. It is already pretty great.
What about the implementation team?
The only bit that is a bit manual is adding the IPv6 address ranges. That is still a manual thing, where you have to ask the support team to allocate you a new range. That is only a minor thing. However, you get an IPv6 address with the server anyway, so it is not too much of an issue.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Pricing-wise, I find it simple in that they give you a monthly fee, but they also charge it hourly. So, if you are using the service for a small part of the month, then you are only paying for that small amount instead of a whole month, like with other providers. It is a flat monthly fee if you use the service for the entire month. It just makes things so simple. Because they are focusing on Linux, you don't have to worry about licensing costs of Windows and things like that. So, the price that they give you is the price that you need to pay each month. I just find it so simple compared to the likes of AWS and Azure. It is nice, easy, and predictable. I know exactly what I am going to be paying each month and what resources I get for that price.
They offer a Managed plan, which isn't of interest to me at the moment. I do all the maintenance myself. However, I know that is there if I need it.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
In my day-to-day job, I work with both Azure and AWS, which are just so complicated. There are so many different services. If you want to do one thing, then it is like, "Yeah, we have a service for that, but it's going to cost you," and if you want to do something else, "There is another service, and that is going to cost you." Whereas, Linode, which is my main virtual server, is $20 a month ($25 with backups) and that is all I will pay regardless of how much I use it. That is a massive thing for them - the fact that you know exactly what you are getting. You are not bamboozled with all the different service names, etc. I find that really good.
I wouldn't even touch AWS or Azure for my own work. I have only used them through my day-to-day company for my own personal hosting of my business. They would just be three or four times the price of Linode.
There is no other company that I have found which can match the responsiveness and helpfulness of the Linode support team.
The availability of their hardware: Linode uses newer AMD processors. A lot of other clouds are only just catching up with that, but they have been using them for a couple of years.
The quality of the hardware is a big thing. Linode offers everything in one place. They offer domains, servers, and object storage, and now they are bringing in firewalls. I can get all that from one provider. Whereas, with other hosting companies, you get the service from one company, but they don't do DNS. You need to get the DNS as well as the object storage from somewhere else. So, there is no reason why I would go anywhere else.
What other advice do I have?
Quite simply, go for it. I don't think you will be disappointed. Linode offers everything in one go. The support team is on-hand, even if you are not a paying customer yet. If you are just on a free trial or the inclusive credit that Linode offers, you will still get exactly the same support as if you were a paying customer.
It is definitely important that Linode offers worldwide coverage via multiple data centres. I am not taking full advantage of that at the moment. However, I plan to as my business gets bigger, putting service closer to customers wherever they are in the world. It is definitely a plus point that they are worldwide.
I have looked into the Linode Kubernetes Engine. However, at the moment, the virtual servers are a better fit for me. I am just not at that scale where I need the containers.
I absolutely can see that they will help us to grow and progress.
I would rate Linode as 10 out of 10. There are things for improvement, but they are working on them. I think they are only going to get better than what they are now. For me, they are the leading provider for the typical, everyday hosting needs.